Abdullah Al-Baradouni (1929–1999) was a Yemeni writer and poet. He had published 12 poetry books as well as six other books on such topics as politics, folklore, and literature. He is considered Yemen's most famous poet.
The life of Abdullah Al-Baradouni
He began school in his village at the age of seven, and two years later moved to Dhamar city where he enrolled at the Shamsia School. When he was 13 years old, he simultaneously started reading old poetry and writing his own.
As an adolescent, he satirized the Imamate in some of his poems which he circulated in secret, and in 1948 was arrested and thrown into prison for nine months. He moved to Sana’a before he was 20, after his release. He studied in its Grand Mosque, then moved to Dar Al-Ulum at the beginning of 1940 to study poetry and language.
He graduated from Dar al-Ulum with distinction and a certificate in Islamic law and Arabic language sciences. After graduation, he became a teacher at Dar Al-Ulum.
From 1954 to 1956, he practiced law, especially arguing the cases of divorced women, earning himself the name “the divorcees’ lawyer.”
After the 1962 revolution, he started working for Sana’a Radio, where he became manager in 1969 and, later, head of the programs until 1980.
He continued preparing a rich literature program called “Magazine of Thought and Literature” each week until his death in 1999.
He worked as supervisor for the army magazine from 1969 until 1975 and had a weekly article each week entitled “Thought and Literature Issues” and a weekly article in Al-Thawra newspaper entitled “Cultural Issues.”
He was one of the first people to call for the creation of the Union for Yemeni Authors and Men of Letters, and was voted in as its first chairman.
Al-Baradoni was a prolific writer and published 12 volumes of poetry. Among these were: From the Land of Sheba, On the Path of Dawn, The City of Tomorrow, Journey to the Green Days, Smokey Faces in Night Mirrors, The Quality of Time, Creatures of the Second Nostalgia, The Fluidity of Light, Answer to the Ages, and The Return of Wiseman Ben Zaid.
Al-Baradoni also authored a number of books and studies, including: A Journey in Modern and Ancient Yemen poetry, Yemeni issues, Popular culture in Yemen, Popular culture, Yemeni Experience and Sayings, Culture and the Yemeni revolution, From the First Poem to the Last Bullet: A Poetic Study of Zubairi Poetry and his Life.
Al-Baradoni, as described by most critics, contributed to the rising of the Arabic poem along with a few great poets. Not only that, but he was described as one of the best contemporary Arabic poets to enrich Arabic literature with their great works.
Al-Baradoni’s life was characterized with many variables, a radical politician, fond of his country and heritage, and a writing hero in a half-educated country. In spite of being a blind, he could see what sighted people could not and he did not hesitate to express his own views transparently.
However, most of his works were not published during his life and this can be attributed to the negligence which struck his work throughout his life. It is a pity to notice that we remember our intellectuals after their death only.
It is an occasion to ask the related authorities to publish all his works as this is the least we can do for such a great poet who lived in poverty and overcame unbearable circumstances.
A vacuum in poetry
“The great poet Abdullah Al-Baradoni’s passing away has left a great vacuum in the arena of poetry,” said Dr. Abdulaziz Al- Maqaleh, an advisor to the president and director of the Yemen Center for Studies and Research.
“This vacuum can be filled only by his works, which were and will remain the subject of unlimited interest for coming generations in Yemen,” he said. “This generation has lagged far behind the field of literary and creativity.”
Minister of Culture Mohammad Abu Bakr Al-Muflehi said that Al-Baradoni is one of the most important symbols of global culture in the second half of the 20th century.
“He is one of those people who raised the name of Yemen in the Arab and international forums,” said Al-Muflehi. “Yemen now has a prominent location on the map of Arab culture.”
“At the end of each August, we remember how death has taken our poet, philosopher, and thinker,” he said.
“He took it upon himself to upgrade, develop, and renovate Arab poetry to become one of its best- known poets,” he said.
Al- Baradoni was not only a prominent poet, but a distinguished intellectual in local and Arab cultural affairs. He was also a link between modernity and Arab heritage. His writings were a profound analysis of the realities of Arab life, with all its triumphs, advances, and defeats.
On Aug. 30, 1999, during his last journey to Jordan for medical treatment for various aliments, his heart stopped beating. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest Arab poets of the twentieth century.
He advocated democracy and women's rights. He wrote poems critical of the government and the revolutionaries that overthrew them, which led to his imprisonment in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.